Hotel accommodations are typically one of the biggest expenses on a trip, and whether you’re looking for budget options or five-star luxury, no one wants to pay more than they have to.
Timing, they say, is everything, and that’s particularly true when it comes to booking a hotel room since room rates can vary appreciably, depending on factors like how far in advance you book and what time of year you’re traveling. With that in mind, here are some tips for getting the very best deal on your hotel stay.
What is the best day of the week to book a hotel room?
The best day of the week to book your hotel at the lowest rate is Saturday for domestic travel and Friday for international travel, according to travel aggregator Kayak, which analyzed hotel searches conducted between January 1 and September 8, 2021.
According to Kayak, Tuesday is the most expensive day to book domestic travel and Sunday is the most expensive day for international hotels. As the week slides into the weekend, hotel searches drop by as much as 30 percent, and the rates tend to drop off, as well.
Interestingly, travel booking and review site Tripadvisor offered some slightly different intel, reporting that Tuesday is the cheapest day to book a hotel, both for domestic and international accommodations.
What is the cheapest day of the week to check in and out?
Here, there’s been a bit of change recently. A couple years ago, prior to the pandemic, Kayak had reported that Sunday is the cheapest day of the week to check into a hotel, the day that travelers on a weekend getaway usually return home and prior to the Monday check-ins that are typical for business travelers. But in 2021, Kayak reports that Tuesday has become the cheapest day of the week to check into a hotel both domestically and internationally.
It remains true, however, that when traveling domestically, if you plan on arriving on a Friday or Saturday and leaving on a Sunday, you’ll be paying top dollar. If you have the flexibility to avoid that weekend time frame, you’ll save money. Thursday is the most expensive day for check-in internationally, followed by Friday.
Tripadvisor reports that for domestic trips, one-night stays are cheaper (and confirms that Tuesday check-ins are cheapest) but that for international stays one-night stays are the most expensive and booking a hotel for two- or three-night stays midweek can save travelers between $10 and $30 per night.
How far in advance should I book a room?
The calculations get a little trickier here. Kayak found that if you’re not risk averse and can wait until the last minute, say one to four days before your planned check-in date, you can save a lot of money.
One reason is that hotels typically have a 24- to 48-hour cancellation policy and do see cancellations come in just ahead of that window via those looking to avoid being penalized. Rather than have those canceled rooms go unused, the hotels will cut rates to fill them.
For international trips, booking rooms one to seven days prior to arrival could save travelers between $10 and $70 per night, according to Tripadvisor, which found that 25 percent of international travelers make their bookings 1 to 1.5 months in advance when the rate is actually $37 to $100 per night higher.
The issue with waiting is that availability and room category options could be sparse. But if you’re game for a bit of a gamble in exchange for a good deal, a travel site like HotelTonight or One:Night will be particularly useful to find last-minute deals.
However, if you’re traveling abroad, you might not be comfortable waiting until right before you leave, or landing in a foreign country without knowing where you’re sleeping that night. In that case, hotel comparison site Trivago suggests choosing a handful of hotels that fit your price range a couple of months before your departure. Then start tracking them over a few weeks to gauge the best price and lock it in when you’re satisfied. Trivago found that if you’re traveling abroad, booking more than two to three months in advance will cost the most.
What time of year should I avoid hotel stays?
If your main goal is to save money, booking a hotel off-season is the way to go. That means avoiding popular domestic or European destinations in the summer and opting for spring or fall instead. Likewise, you won’t find many deals in Palm Springs, Mexico, or the Caribbean in winter.
While some holiday gatherings and special events have been on hold due to the pandemic, typically around these times (and if the events are actually going ahead) you will see hotel rates shoot up as well—think Christmas in Hawai‘i, New Year’s Eve in New York City, or Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
In short, remember that getting the best deal on a hotel room comes down to a few basic rules: Make your bookings on a more favorable day of the week (try Tuesday or the weekend), try for last minute if you can, travel off-season whenever possible, and avoid checking in on Friday.
This story originally appeared in 2019, and has been updated to include current information.
How do you get a reduced rate at a hotel? ›
If it's feasible, wait until the day you need the hotel room to book it. The later in the day, the better. After 4 p.m., hotels know the odds of selling a room are pretty slim, so you're more likely to get an even lower rate. On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance.What time of day are hotel prices cheapest? ›
However, if you are trying to find last minute hotel deals, the best time to book a hotel is after 4pm. This is when hotels will drop their prices to entice travelers to fill their rooms for the night. For those who are dedicated budget hunters, the best time to book hotel for lowest prices is after 8pm.Is it cheaper to call hotel directly for best rate? ›
Once you find the lowest available price at the hotel you want to visit, call the hotel's reservation desk. Many hotels will meet or beat the best internet rate when you book with them. They'd much rather skip the commission to the travel site and book your stay directly.How do you value a hotel in 60 seconds? ›
Essentially all you need to do is divide the total sales price by the number of rooms to arrive at a PPR (Price Per Room) value.What is the 15 5 rule hotel? ›
15/5 rule: When a guest is within 15 feet their presence should be acknowledged through some means whether a smile or head nod. Similarly, when a guest is within 5 feet they should be greeted in an appropriate manner whether that be a “hello”, “good morning”, or “good evening.”Do you get a better room if you book direct with hotel? ›
Advantages of Booking a Hotel Directly
You can often find better rates by booking directly, too — a concern for budget-conscious travelers. By calling a hotel directly, you find out about any specials perks or packages they have available. In some cases, you can get a better room for the same amount of money.
Since hotels are always aiming to maximize their occupancy rate, many will decrease their rates if they aren't meeting their expected targets. That's why you'll often see hotels dropping their prices a few days before a check-in date or on the day of arrival.What day are hotel prices the highest? ›
The research shows that the lowest average daily rate (ADR) for domestic accommodations tends to occur on Mondays, when travelers can save more than 15% compared with booking and staying on the most expensive day, Friday.Which hotel booking site has best rates? ›
- Booking.com. Best hotel app overall. View now.
- Airbnb. Best hotel app for private stays. View now.
- Hostelworld. Best hotel app for hostels. View now.
- Hotels.com. Best hotel app for cheap hotels. View now.
- HotelTonight. Best hotel app for last-minute stays. View now.
What is hotels secret price? ›
The “secret price” is a discount available on some hotels to any Rewards member. If you're logged into your account while searching, you'll see the discounted price when you search for hotels.Can you get a lower hotel rate by calling? ›
You usually need to speak to a designated person such as the 'on-property revenue manager'. Often, though, entirely apart from room rate discounts — major chain hotels try to enforce pricing uniformity — you may be able to obtain add-ons like upgrades, breakfast, late check-out and on-property discounts.Can you talk a hotel down in price? ›
Though it's best to phone ahead, you can negotiate on arrival. If you walk in without a reservation and are unhappy with the rate you are quoted, tell the desk clerk and ask if there is a lower rate or offer a rate that you are willing to pay.Do hotel prices go up the more you search? ›
Most hotels use revenue management software and other algorithms to automatically update their hotel room rates. If you search different dates for the same location you will notice that hotel prices can go up and down from day to day.What is the 5 10 rule in hospitality? ›
The 10 and 5 rule is a simple guideline that is widely used in the hospitality industry. The rule dictates that when a staff member is 10 feet from a guest, the staff smiles and makes direct eye contact, and when they are within five feet, the staff verbally greets the guest.What is 10x10 rule in hotel? ›
They refer to their customers as guests. Cast members are trained to acknowledge each guest with a smile anytime they come within 10 feet of that person.What is the 80/20 rule in hospitality? ›
Under the 80/20 Tip Rule, you can only apply a tip credit to an employee if they spend at least 80% of their time in category 1, and no more than 20%, or 30 consecutive minutes, in category 2. Meanwhile, no tip credit can be applied to any work in category 3.Why do hotels check at 4PM? ›
2) the delayed check-in times (3PM or 4PM) are to allow housekeeping enough time to get all the rooms clean. If there are enough available rooms, most hotels let you check in early, but they don't want you to ASSUME that just because you show up early you can check in.Why is there no room 420 in hotels? ›
Some hotels are playing it even more safe by removing room 420 altogether from their room numbers. It´s kind of a superstitious move – the same way hotels went mad some decades ago and removed level 13 and room number 13. Other hotels have been even more creative with their solution, labelling room 420 as “419 + 1”.What is the 72 hour rule in hotels? ›
Reservations must be cancelled seventy two (72 hours) hotel time, prior to your arrival date, in order to avoid a one (1) night full room cancellation fee. If reservations are cancelled less than 72 hours before the arrival date, you will may be charged the full room charge plus taxes.
Is it cheaper to book a hotel online or walk in? ›
If you are looking for a last minute deal, it may be cheaper to walk in and ask for any discounts or specials they may have available. On the other hand, if you plan ahead and book your hotel online or over the phone, you can often find great deals that will save you money compared to walking in without a reservation.What time of day is best to book a hotel? ›
Best time to book a hotel on the day of your stay
Prices usually plummet around 4 pm as hotels work to entice customers to their empty rooms. If you're bold enough to wait until after 8 pm, you'll find prices probably reduce by another 5-10% again.
Look on any hotel website, and you'll likely pay more to stay on a Saturday night than on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Most hotels see more travelers and book more rooms over the weekend than during the week. This is great for weekday business travelers but not so great for weekend vacationers.Do hotels get cheaper late at night? ›
“On average, same-day hotel rates are 10% less than booking the day before and then typically drop dramatically around 4 p.m,” Shank added. “If you book at 8 p.m., you can usually save another 5-10%.”What night of the week are hotels cheapest? ›
In short, remember that getting the best deal on a hotel room comes down to a few basic rules: Make your bookings on a more favorable day of the week (try Tuesday or the weekend), try for last minute if you can, travel off-season whenever possible, and avoid checking in on Friday.How do I get cheap deals on booking? ›
- Browse Booking.com's dedicated deals page. ...
- Subscribe to see the 'Secret Deals' page. ...
- Become a Booking.com genius. ...
- Book last minute. ...
- Use discount codes. ...
- Use filters wisely. ...
- Check for hidden costs and be wary of misleading sales tactics.
|Best day of the week to book hotels domestic||Friday|
|How far in advance to book hotels domestic||The week of|
It's Cheaper to Book Direct
When you book directly with the hotel, there are no hidden fees. Using third-party booking services has additional fees that you may on top of the rate. Online travel agents also charge a commission, which could be up to 20% of the booking, from the hotel.
Best available rate (BAR)
The best available rate, or BAR, is the most affordable rate that can be offered to the guest. There are two types of BAR rates, a dynamic rate, or a daily rate. A dynamic rate is typically a standard rate based on the number of rooms available.
A PIP, or property improvement plan, is an action plan designed to bring a hotel property into compliance with the latest brand standards. PIPs are a fairly regular occurrence for hotel owners. They happen every six to 10 years.
What does RPI mean in hotels? ›
Revenue Generating Index (RGI) or RevPAR Index (RPI) – A metric used to determine whether a property is achieving its fair share of revenue compared to a specific group of hotels (i.e. a competitive set).Can I call a hotel for a better rate? ›
Sometimes you can get a cheaper rate if you call the hotel directly. Look at dates, room type and price on-line and then call the hotel to see if you can get better rate or upgraded room. Prices are usually cheaper in advance, but another major pricing force is holiday/vacation timing.Do hotel prices go down the closer you get? ›
The ideal amount of time to book a hotel room is only 15 days before your trip, according to a 2021 NerdWallet study. Looking at more than 2,500 hotel room rates between 2019 and 2021, NerdWallet found rates were about 13% cheaper when booked 15 days before compared to four months before.What days of week are best to book hotels? ›
The best day of the week to book your hotel at the lowest rate is Monday for domestic travel and Tuesday for international travel, according to travel site Expedia.How do you ask a hotel to price match? ›
- Use popular search aggregators. ...
- Find the rate on both the hotel's website, and a lower rate on one of these different booking sites.
- Once you successfully find a lower rate on one of these websites, book a cancelable rate on the hotel's own website.
- Submit a claim form.
It's Cheaper to Book Direct
By booking directly, you could save this amount, or know that the full amount is going to the hotel for your stay. Hotels tend to offer the best rates when you book directly with them and it's a great incentive. It benefits both you and the hotel when you make a reservation directly.
Expedia. Those looking for steeply discounted hotel bookings should use the Expedia app. It comes with exclusive deals you may not find when booking on its website. This includes deals up to 40% off as well as the app-only Expedia Rewards rate of 2 points per dollar.Do hotels monitor your search history? ›
While your hotel's management usually won't be able to see the contents of your communications, they can easily find out what websites you visit and how much time you spend browsing the Internet.Is it better to wait for last minute hotel deals? ›
While it's almost always cheaper to book a room last-minute, how much cheaper is it, really? Turns out, though a bit cheaper, don't expect the bargain bin here. Rooms average 13% less when booked last-minute than booked four months in advance.Do hotels charge less if you stay longer? ›
Most extended stay guests book accommodations for at least one week. This is because the average nightly rate is discounted when guests stay longer.